The Golden State Warriors continued to show their improved performance on the road on Monday night, beating a pesky and talented Oklahoma City Thunder squad 128-120. The Dubs got it done with a dominant first quarter, which at one point featured a 20-point lead, and that was just enough for them to carry to the finish line.
After starting the year 3-16 on the road, the Warriors have since gone 4-2, with one of those losses being the overtime heartbreaker against the Boston Celtics, who have been the best team in the NBA this year. It’s clear that things are starting to click.
So let’s grade the players who made that happen, and as always, we’ll weight our grades based on our expectations for each player. A “B” grade represents the average performance by a player.
Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. Entering Monday’s games, league average TS was 57.9%.
31 minutes, 7 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 71.7% TS, +2
The Warriors offense was electric in the first quarter, as they moved the ball around at lightning pace en route to 38 points. And while some hot shooting help, the biggest reason for the great offense was the ball movement, which Green contributed to, tallying five assists in the frame.
He kept that going throughout the game, and played tremendous interior defense, which the Warriors needed, as they elected to not play JaMychal Green or James Wiseman. He’s still one of the best centers in the league.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds, tied for the team lead in assists.
32 minutes, 15 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 7-for-13 shooting, 1-for-4 threes, 57.7% TS, +7
This was definitely Wiggins’ best game since returning from injury. It was the best defense he’s played in a while, and the healthiest and most athletic he’s looked. And though it wasn’t a super efficient game — he scored a hair below league-average efficiency — it was the first time he’d shot 50% or better from the field since December 3.
He had some key shots to start the game, and opened up the third quarter with six straight points. Good stuff.
37 minutes, 38 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 12-for-20 shooting, 8-for-14 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 83.9% TS, +17
I don’t even know what to say about Curry at this point. He played this game with a chip on his shoulder. Was it him being mad after having a few poor performances in close losses lately? Was it trying to make a statement when some averred that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should have been the All-Star starter instead? Was it just a random Monday game that he really turned up for?
Who knows. But he did a whole bunch of Steph Curry things. He commanded the game. The offense looked elite when he was on the court and awful when he was off it. He made shots that should be impossible, and he made them look easy. He got flashy and funky with it.
The total package from the total package.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points, tied for the team lead in assists, best plus/minus on the team.
37 minutes, 28 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 10-for-21 shooting, 6-for-14 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 64.0% TS, +4
If you’re looking for a reason why the Warriors are playing better lately, it’s because they’ve been showing up defensively on the road. But if you’re looking for a reason why the rest of the league is probably pretty scared of the Dubs again, it’s because Klay looks like the guy we knew from before the ACL and Achilles injuries.
He’s moving well, he’s moving without the ball well, he’s shooting well, he’s cutting well, and he’s defending well. He’s been stepping up on the glass since the team went smaller, and he had a few huge shots in this game when the lead was in doubt.
He’s back, y’all.
31 minutes, 15 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 4-for-12 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 5-for-8 free throws, 48.3% TS, +10
Lots of good and bad in this one for Poole. There were moments where his aggression really paid off and drove the offense, and some clutch buckets. There were also a handful of the poor decisions that have really plagued his play lately.
He wasn’t efficient offensively, but he continues to look significantly improved defensively. So I’m not quite sure what to make of this one.
12 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 fouls, 2-for-5 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 40.0% TS, +2
I was surprised that Kuminga didn’t play more minutes in this game, though his foul issues reared their ugly head a little. Still, he played some really, really awesome defense on SGA on multiple possessions, and I thought really influenced the game on that end of the court.
And after having just two rebounds total in his last two games, in which he logged 47 minutes, it was great seeing him snag three boards in just 12 minutes of action.
23 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 1 foul, 3-for-5 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, 68.0% TS, -1
I continue to be impressed with how well Looney has moved to the bench. His professionalism is outrageous, from the way he helped mediate the Green/Poole situation, to how he’s responded to fluctuating minutes, to a willingness to move to the bench.
He stays ready, and he keeps playing very, very well. His defense down the stretch was huge in this game.
11 minutes, 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 2-for-2 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 125.0% TS, +6
Lamb only has nine games of eligibility left before his two-way contract will need to be converted, which tells us one of two things: either the Warriors have every intention of converting his contract, or they’re happy to burn his eligibility while they wait for Andre Iguodala to get healthy.
It’s probably the former. It’s almost surely the former. But I guess only time will tell for sure.
Anyway, it’s hard to argue with scoring five points on two shots.
26 minutes, 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 3-for-8 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 50.0% TS, -10
DiVincenzo had a sensational first quarter, scoring all eight of his points and shooting 3-for-4 from the field. He slowed down after that, but still had some key moments, especially in the fourth quarter. His energy was key to the Warriors getting out in transition, and also to them playing strong defense in transition.
He was a bit sloppy in this game, but still such a strong bench player.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
Monday’s DNPs: Patrick Baldwin Jr., JaMychal Green, Moses Moody, James Wiseman,
Monday’s inactives: Andre Iguodala, Ty Jerome, Ryan Rollins